Hamlet: Close Reading
For anyone who has read Shakespeare, they know that love always has a conflict to go along with it. In the play Hamlet, the relationship between Ophelia and Hamlet is still questioned and complicated. Out of the entire play, there are scenes that show different feelings they have towards each other, along with fights and other characters opinions. In certain sections of the book, there are certain scene that have a deeper meaning to them.
In Act two, Scene one, Polonius tells Reynaldo that he has to go spy on Laertes because he has heard there has been some trouble. After, Ophelia comes rushing to her Father, Polonius, telling him that she has been frightened due to Hamlet’s actions that he presented to her while she was sewing. Ophelia’s talk with her father is significant for several reasons. One, It reveals Hamlet’s emotions and reactions for the first time since he has had his interactions with the ghost. It allows you to see how someone else sees him instead of him talking to himself. Secondly, it shows that Ophelia has obeyed her father by staying away from him just as she was told.
When Ophelia first enters to talk to her father she explains what happened while she was in her room. Her tone starts out as being frightened, but then starts to be almost happy that Hamlet came to see her, as well as curious as to how her father is going to react. “He falls to such perusal of my face, As he would draw it. Long stayed he so.” To me, Ophelia is saying he stared and focused on her face for such a long time that he could paint it like a picture. Hamlet was at loss for words and his actions are very confusing. If Hamlet had said what was actually wrong, it may have caused even more trouble for everyone.
Polonius then says, “What said he?” Although, Hamlet never actually spoke to her. The whole time he was in there, his emotions were powerful enough that no words had to be spoken. Hamlet was also so full of emotion that he wasn’t able to get it out, and didn’t want to reveal his insanity.
“At last, a little shaking of mine arm, And thrice his head thus waving up and down.” Ophelia’s tone is scared, but also flattered that Hamlet is coming back to see her, and after Hamlet left, she was more confused because it was so unexpected. In these lines, Ophelia could also be mad at Hamlet because him coming to see her, this action can make it even harder to obey her father’s rules. Ophelia may start to form into Hamlet’s plan to feign insanity. She may be worried about him because he’s “missing” her and it’ll make him worse since she had to reject him.
Overall, Hamlet has been having trouble treating Ophelia well because he almost sees all women as not good due to his mother marrying his uncle. Hamlet also has a hard time of seeing true love as a good thing, but Ophelia believes that he still loves her deeply.
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